SPL v Celtic

CELTIC 5 DUNFERMLINE 0 Date: 09/02/02

Fixture: SPL

Attendance: 58590, Kick off 15.00

Referee: John Rowbotham

Celtic rebounded back from Tuesday night`s
defeat from Rangers by hitting five past Dunfermline.� When Scott Thomson
saved a 5th minute penalty from Henrik Larsson there was a glimmer of hope that
this might just be Dunfermline`s day but a first half hat trick from Larsson
soon despatched the optimism back to Fife.


Gary Mason and Jason Dair came into the side
that drew with Hearts, Chris McGroarty and Ian Ferguson dropping out.�
Scott Y Thomson continued in goals in place of the injured Marco Ruitenbeek as
Dunfermline tried to make a dent in Celtic`s 100% home record.


This season Juventus, Rosenburg and Porto have
all entered the fray from the visitors` dressing room at Celtic Park and every
time the hoops have won.� Dunfermline were not about to upset the form
book.


Gerry and the Pacemakers were cut short as John
Rowbotham got the match under way.� Celtic kicked off playing west to east
and the crowd finished off "You`ll Never Walk Alone" as Dunfermline�
unsuspectingly� entered the storm.


The opening play was all Dunfermline and Rab
Douglas was put under enough pressure to kick his clearance straight out to
Panopolous but the Pars could not capitalise on the mistake.�


Next Seyni N`Diaye caused the SPL Champions a
problem as he broke down the left. He was then extremely unlucky when he played
the ball off Stevie Crawford and just could not bring down the return that would
have given him a scoring chance.


With the pace of a tortoise Celtic were just
awakening from some winter hibernation.� Thompson made their first real
advance down the left wing to shell over a fair average looking cross.�
Hartson was waiting on it and as the big boy-o headed wide he was spilled over
by Youssef Rossi and the referee pointed at the penalty spot.� Three
minutes 50 seconds - well the contest had been good while it lasted!


Marco saved a penalty here last season from
Larsson and it was the Swede who stepped up to shot left; Scott Thomson dived in
the right direction and pulled off a great save that should have been
inspirational for the Fifers.


The ball was seen out for a corner on the left
and there was one great stramash when the ball came over from Thompson`s boot.�
Larsson eventually blasted the ball towards the keeper and Thommo reacted well
to clear.


Chris Sutton, whose role for the day was to
debutise for the injured Belgian Joos Valgaeren in the centre of the back three,
then made a move forward to set up another cross from Thompson which fell behind
the Pars crossbar.


Guilty of giving the ball away cheaply, Celtic
looked vulnerable to some punishment with N`Diaye silencing the home supporters
with two or three exchanges that might have brought about an opener.


Seyni set up Jason Dair but he failed to meet
the ball right and the effort was wayward.� Next the Senegali and Stevie
Crawford almost broke through the Parkhead defence and following that Gary Mason
got a pop at goal only to be blocked out.


Through Fife eyes the first ten minutes had
been very entertaining but the second of two quick Celtic corners then provided
the sting that changed the course of the game.� Jason Dair`s headed
clearance from the first fell to Agathe and Larsson was stopped by conceding
another corner.�


From just in front of the small party of
travelling supporters, Alan Thompson swung the ball over to Agathe on the far
side of the penalty box and his header was turned in by Henrik LARSSON.


Didier Agathe then had a twenty minute spell
where he tortured Rossi and Dair down is right wing.� Two good chances came
from his efforts.� On 20 minutes a cross that found Larrson on the edge of
the six yard box really should have produced goal number two but the Celtic top
goalscorer headed wide to the right of goal.


Five minutes later Jason was forced to foul the
West Indian and there was then an immediate danger from the free kick 30 yards
out in the centre of the park.� Alan Thompson could only fire into the
Dunfermline wall.


Paul Lambert was the next to waltz around the
Dunfermline penalty area eventually beating the advancing keeper but thankfully
there are two Scott Thomsons so Nipper cleared from inside the six yard box.�
The Thomson double act followed that with another performance denying John
Hartson next.


Panopolous replied with a long range attempt
that went safely to Douglas.� On the half hour Rossi forced his way forward
and combined with N`Diaye to win our first corner.� Made in Africa it may
have been but it was Scottish internationalist Crawford who got a shot in from
the D.� Douglas dived left to collect without much trouble.


Two minutes later Celtic scored their second.
Moravcik on the right wing swiftly threaded the ball through to Hartson whose
cross although possibly already net bound, was tapped in at the far post by
LARSSON.� Captain Scott Thomson had shadowed Hartson and Rossi took
exception to the captain`s roasting in the post mortem into the goal.


Cross words almost became crossed swords and
John Rowbotham stepped between the two Pars defenders to cool the situation.�
But there was more anguish only five minutes later when Barry Nicholson conceded
another free kick to Celtic in a similar position to that from which Thompson
earlier had hit into the wall.


This time Barry Nicholson charged down the kick
but the ball broke into the right of the penalty box and John HARTSON found
himself with plenty of time to slot the ball under Scott Thomson.� Thirty
seven minutes gone and we were on schedule for a substantial doing.


Just a minute later, Rossi and Hartson clashed
on the right and the Moroccan refused to shake hands and make up.� Whatever
language Youssef came out with was easily recognised by the Kirkcaldy whistler
as something meriting a card and so a yellow was duly brandished.


Rossi was in the Celtic half when he lost
possession allowing Hartson to advance down the Celtic right and send LARSSON
through to complete his hat trick two minutes from the interval.� The sun
kissed the top tier of the packed North Stand and the Pars had to wonder at half
time why it never shines on them at Celtic Park.


Lee Bullen was introduced at half time in place
of the luckless Rossi.� Jason Dair went to left back and Lee was involved
right away when Panopolous sent a useful ball out to the right.� The big
man`s cross flew across the six yard box but the Greek internationalist could
not make contact on the return.


Scott Thomson fired a 54th minute free kick
into the Celtic wall before Colin Nish was brought on in place of N`Diaye.�
The youngster was not required in the squad for his under 21 qualifications
since Harrower and McGroarty satisfied that, so it was going to be interesting
to see if Nish� could justify his inclusion.


Crawford made headway to the left corner and
crossed for Bullen but Douglas arrived to pick the ball off Bully`s head.�
Nish did manage to hold on to possession to staved off Sutton and then set up
Crawford through the middle but the striker`s shot went straight to Douglas.


Lubo Moravcik turned on some magic to bemuse
Gary Mason and conjure up a fine ball from the deep on the right that surprised
everyone as it travelled across the six yard box and behind on the left. Then
Agathe made a characteristic run down the right to send one over for sub Jamie
Smith on the far post but Thomson produced another good save.


Pressure mounted again on the Pars and Celtic
might have increased their advantage when Larsson shielded the ball to let
Hartson have a shot at goal which shot wide of the left goalpost.� But the
fifth was only minutes away.� A burst through the middle found Thompson on
the right side of the box.� The Englishman back heeled it for Didier AGATHE
to hammer home.


As the stadium announcer informed us of NTL man
of the match, the recipient failed to extend his match tally from three as Scott
Thomson heroically held the Swede`s chip.


With the result in no doubt the final score did
not seem to matter so by the end of the match most of the crowd had left seeking
the only other contest of the day that mattered - to see who was to win Pop
Idol.


Pars idols were few but both Scott Thomson`s
played well.� Gary Mason did a power of work and Andrius Skerla had a good
game despite being part of a defence that leaked five goals.� �


Points, indeed goals, against the Old Firm
appear to be bonuses.� None from Celtic Park since August 1997 but it is
more important to take points from the next two matches; at Dens and at Easter
Road.


DUNFERMLINE:
3-5-2;� SY Thomson; Skerla, SM Thomson, Rossi (Bullen HT); MacPherson (McGroarty
78), Nicholson, Mason, Panopolous, Dair; Crawford, N`Diaye (Nish 61).

SUBS NOT USED:� Harrower, Nicholls.

YELLOW CARD:� Rossi (38)

STRIPS: Away Silver


CELTIC: 3-5-2: Douglas; Baldie, Sutton,
Mjalllby (Crainey 74); Agathe, Lennon (Smith 61), Lambert, Moravcik (Maloney
74),� Thompson; Larsson, Hartson.

SUBS NOT USED:� Gould, Petrov.

SCORERS:� Larsson (13, 32, 43), Hartson (37), Agathe (73)

YELLOW CARDS: None

STRIPS:: Home green &� white


WEATHER:� Dry 7C


NEXT MATCH SPL (away) v Dundee, Wednesday 12th
February




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